"I am ready to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared to meet me is another matter."
-Winston Churchill

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

VBT Pit Stop with Zachery Richardson - Chronicles of the Apocalypse

Welcome to the Round Table.  May I offer you a beverage before we begin?
Let me try one of those Zesty Zombies.

Thank you for bringing Zach his drink Zar. Enjoy!

Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today.  It's so nice to have you at the Round Table.

BK:  What inspired you to pen this novel?

I saw the movie Secret Window with Johnny Depp. It inspired me to try and write a story where the main character was the villain instead of the hero. I wanted to mix things up a bit and do something that was maybe a little risky and different. Well, I discovered quickly that writing a book from the villain's perspective was beyond my abilities at the time, and so I settled on making him a genuinely good person who had nonetheless done reprehensible things. And since Kill Bill was one of my favorite films at the time, I decided to make him an assassin.

BK:  What inspired your book to be a series?

I was writing three separate books at the time, all dealing with demons, demonic powers, and demonic invasion. When I realized they all had a common theme, I tied them all together and revised a bunch of things to launch the story off into this crazy new dimension

BK:   How difficult is it to write a series?

It takes much more dedication than a one-off. You also have to plan everything out from the beginning if you want the story to grow organically. It's a tough process, but it's one that I love.

BK:  What draws you to write in this genre?

I love the mix of freedom and familiarity it gives you. With Urban Fantasy, the world is a familiar one, one that we all would recognize, but it also allows us authors to play with it however we want. I also love the sort of "secret history" stories. Stories that present what we take as historical fact as an elaborate cover up. Though it's an element that isn't present in Revenge, Everything is Nothing (which I like to call REIN),  some of that will come up in future Chronicles of the Apocalypse (COTA) books.

BK:  How do you keep your writing different from all the other novels in this genre?

I do a fair bit. I present demons in a way that I haven't seen done in American literature at all. Rather than presenting them as either wild, mindless monsters or invisible, malicious spirits, I've made them highly intelligent, organized, almost human in some respects, and wildly powerful. I do also include some more basic, mindless monster demons as well, but they are all very real, very physical threats. A few of them I would say are even akin to Superman, in terms of how powerful they are. Those guys cause some serious trouble when they're introduced. I want to say more, but I run the risk of seriously spoiling the rest of the books in the series if I do.

BK:  Who is your favorite character?  

Which one would you most likely invite to dinner? I can't answer either of those without delivering MASSIVE spoilers. What I can say is that each question has a different answer.

BK:  What is your favorite part about writing?

That thrill you get when a brilliant new idea occurs to you that makes all your other ideas fall seamlessly into place. I've had a couple moments like that with Chronicles of the Apocalypse, and each time it's added a fantastic new wrinkle to the story.  My favorite thing about series writing is that you can tell much grander stories. I also love being able to spend more time with the characters.

BK:  Did you find any particular challenges during the writing of this novel?

Timing everything. Since Revenge, Everything is Nothing takes place simultaneously with Book Two, I had to make sure the events in both books didn't contradict each other. I actually just finished a chapter where I had an idea that I thought was cool and if I hadn't caught myself, my main character wouldn't have done something that is mentioned later on in REIN.

BK:  Are you finding yourself running into any challenges while writing this series?

Probably my biggest challenge is finding ways to use the characters I don't kill in the same book they appear in. There's one character who shows up in Book Two that I knew I had to use in the rest of the series, but finding a way to do so successfully was a real challenge.

BK:  Do you have a favorite book in the series?

Either Book Three, Book Four, or Book Six. I think Book Six, because I finally reveal the full story. Why everything in the series has happened the way it has. If I say any more, I'll ruin everything. And then of course there's the whole epic conclusion thing, and I'm a sucker for epic conclusions.

BK:  How did you come up with the title for your series?

In it's initial form, Book 3 told the story of a character who ultimately got cut from the final product, along with all the accompanying plot threads. Before I made that cut though, I wanted a title that would imply that the series was about multiple people and how they deal with the Apocalypse, rather than focusing on my main hero character. So, I settled on Chronicles of the Apocalypse and it's stuck to this day.

BK:  Are you currently working on any projects?

Book Two of COTA is my primary focus right now, but I've got half a dozen other ideas floating around in my head.

BK:  What do you like to read when you're not writing?

Stuff that's a lot more light and optimistic. I enjoyed Twilight, and am currently waiting on pins and needles for the next House of Night book, as well as Inheritance, the finale of Christopher Paolini's Eragon series.

BK:  What do you like to do for fun?

Watch movies, play video games, come up with fun new ideas for books to write. Sometimes I'll even pick apart the movies I watch. It's been suggested to me multiple times that I pursue a career as a film critic

BK:  What is your favorite food and restaurant?

Steak, steak is indisputably my favorite food. As for my favorite restaurant, it's a toss up between California Pizza Kitchen and Red Robin.

BK:  Fantasy or Horror?

Horror. I was raised on 80's horror movies and Freddy Krueger remains my all time favorite villain.

BK:  Day or Night? Day.

I'm a summer baby, so I gotta have me my sun. :)

BK:  Favorite Drink?

Either root beer, or rum and coke. It depends on where I am and what I'm doing.

BK:  Favorite Movie?

The Lion King. I know that sounds weird coming from a 21-22 year old, but if I wasn't watching horror movies as a kid, I was watching Disney. No other film has hit home for me quite like The Lion King did.

BK:  What is a must have to write?

For me, it's a laptop. I could never write a 300 page novel by hand. My fingers would have me thrown in jail for assault and cruel and unusual punishment.

BK:  If you could possess a supernatural power,  what would it be and why?

I think that's the hardest question in this entire interview, there are SO many I would want! Really though, at the end of the day, I would have to pick Flight. Freedom is a huge thing for me, and being able to fly under my own power would be the epitome of freedom.

BK:  Favorite Book?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It has a lot of competition, but this was the first title that really popped into my head. When it first came out, I read it in less than 19 hours. Every other book that I've read, I've put down at least once. Not so with Harry Potter 5. I read that in one marathon sitting. Not even food could pull me away from that book.

BK:  Favorite Author?

Loaded question. I think if I actually had to pick one, I would either go with Christopher Paolini or Rick Riordan. They've done just tremendous things with their writing.

BK:  Favorite Song?

The Animal by Disturbed

BK:  Favorite Saying?

"To be truly happy in life, find something you love doing and then find someone who'll pay you to do it." Words I live by.

BK:  Sometimes while reading a book we visualize a certain actor/actress playing the part.  If your book were being made into a movie,  which actor or actresses do you see playing the part(s)?

The only actor/actress I've ever envisioned as one of my characters is Stephen Dorff. When I first came up with the character of Dorigan, I knew I would want him to play the character if the movie were ever made.

BK:  What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?

Almost all my inspiration for my books has come from either movies or TV shows, and I am not exaggerating when I say I've seen at least ten times as many movies as I've read books. Don't get me wrong, I love books and I love reading, but with my Attention Deficit Disorder, reading is a significant investment of not only time, but effort. A book has to REALLY grab me in order for me to read it cover to cover.

BK:  What is the craziest thing you've ever done?

Dropped out of college to pursue my career as an author. Hands down.

BK:  If someone could describe you in one word,  what would it be?

Disorganized. That's the only single word I could think of that would be accurate. Everything else was either two words or a phrase.

BK:  Any advice for new aspiring authors?

Don't give up. You will face a LOT of rejection on your path, that's just a fact of the industry. But remember, even Harry Potter got rejected. :)

BK:  Where can readers find you?  (Facebook, twitter, website, blog, etc.)

My website is www.theauthorphoenix.com, and you can follow me on Twitter at RisingPhoenix89. I also have a channel on YouTube where I post videos about my thoughts on various things, mostly the goings on of the entertainment world. The channel name is DemonWithAHumanHeart.

BK:  Do you have any special announcements or events you would like to share with readers today?

I'm selling signed copies through my website, www.theauthorphoenix.com. Just click on the Books Tab and you'll find the link below the plot summary.

Zach is also currently touring with the Virtual Book Tour Cafe', and you can view his schedule HERE.

Zachery Richardson, casually Zach, was born in Seattle WA on August 8th, 1989, and was raised in Lake Oswego, OR. It is perhaps the greatest irony of all that his chosen career is that of an author when as a child, his second least favorite subject in school was writing. Math was number one, and their relationship remains strained to this day.

However, the switch was flipped in middle school when his teacher assigned a creative writing project. Having finally been given a productive outlet for his wildly active imagination, Zach dove headfirst into the world of author-dom and never looked back. By his freshman year of high school, he'd completed his first "book"; a 300 page fanfiction set in the Mobile Suit Gundam universe. Afterwards, he turned his attention to a series of wholly original works that would become Chronicles of the Apocalypse in the subsequent year.

While Chronicles of the Apocalypse (or COTA as he likes to call it) remains his central focus, Zach has also begun work on several other projects in the Young Adult and High Fantasy genres.

He currently lives in Wilsonville, OR.

When you sacrifice the lives of your wife and children to prevent the world's most powerful clan of assassins from unleashing the Apocalypse, what does that make you? And what do you do when you learn that it was all in vain? For Jin Sakai, that sacrifice turned him into a mere shell of a man, filled only with guilt and hatred. When he learns that it was a sacrifice made in vain, he instantly sets out on a violent one-man war to tear the assassins' clan down around their ears. After all, who better to destroy them than the man who brought them together?

Things soon turn down a darker path as Jin uncovers the disturbing truth behind his family's sacrifice; a truth he was never meant to learn. Undone by the revelation, Jin is consumed by doubt and confusion and very nearly loses his life. It is only later when he meets Leah Lawson, a woman with a past almost as dark as his own, that his doubt and confusion vanish and he begins to see a path that will not only lead him to his revenge, but to his redemption.

Unfortunately, there is far more going on behind the scenes than Jin realizes. Forces are at play that have been manipulating the course of his life ever since he was born. By setting out on his quest for vengeance, Jin unknowingly cements his destiny as one of the key warriors in the apocalyptic war that’s brewing just beneath the surface.

Website: www.theauthorphoenix.com

Thank you so much for being at the Round Table today.  It's been such a pleasure chatting with you and I wish you much success in the future.

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1 comment:

InlovewithTwilight7 said...

Thank you for the q & a with Zach. It was very interesting.